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Harper: Magpies dying slow death

NEWCASTLE United, relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season, is "dying a slow, painful death" according to the club's goalkeeper Steve Harper.

Newcastle, preparing for its first season out of the top flight since 1992-93, was put up for sale for 100 million pounds (US$162 million) by owner Mike Ashley last month. It is still without a full-time manager while caretaker boss Chris Hughton continues to run the squad.

"What happened last season was desperately disappointing, but just when you think there's an opportunity for this club to put itself right, build and get straight back up, the opposite happens," Harper, who has been at Newcastle for 16 years, told the Daily Mail yesterday.

"We want it to be resolved so we know where we are and where we're going because at this moment the football club is dying a slow, painful death.

"For five or six years now it's been a gradual slow implosion. The situation is very, very frustrating for all of us.

"To be fair to Chris Hughton, Colin Calderwood and the lads, we have made the best of what is a dreadful situation.

"But at the moment the club isn't rebuilding - it's in a state of limbo and that is no good for anyone."

Newcastle tumbled out of the Premier League at the end of a traumatic season which ended with club favorite Alan Shearer appointed as manager for the last eight matches but he could not save the side from the drop.

Shearer has said he is willing to take the job on a permanent basis but no appointments have been made since Ashley announced he was selling the club.


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